People with disabilities may be concerned about the limited job prospects they will face when seeking employment. However, there are training and support programs that can help disabled job seekers to increase their chances of finding work. Disabled job applicants and employers are guaranteed fair and equal treatment by the Equality Act 2010: regardless of what your physical or learning disability is, you should not be discriminated against because of it.
Employees that live with a disability are legally entitled to fair treatment: this extends to pay, career advancement opportunities, and recruitment. There are social initiatives that strive to raise awareness in order to ensure that disabled job applicants receive the same chances as everybody else. If you are living with a disability and you want to work, get informed and know your rights: there are government programs that can help you learn everything you need in order to find employment.
If you are a disabled employee, your employer is required to accommodate your needs and make the workplace accessible for you. You can access the government’s web page to find out more about your rights as a disabled job seeker, get advice on how to look for work, and access support programs designed to facilitate employment for people who are disabled. Although every job has its own challenges and working while living with a disability can be difficult, there are many resources that you can access in order to successfully find employment. To help you get started with your job search, we’ve compiled a guide detailing the most important factors you need to take into account if you are a disabled job seeker.
Extra Tips and Resources on Jobs for People with Disabilities
Living with Disability and Working
Living with a disability can be difficult and adding a part-time or full-time job to your schedule will bring up new challenges. However, it is not an unmanageable situation. Almost half of disabled adults in the U.K. are currently employed and there are many resources that can help you find the right job to suit your needs and build a successful career.
Managing Life with a Disability: Tips and Resources
Having an organized and active lifestyle is important for your well-being, even more so if you are disabled. Managing life with a disability is the first step to starting a successful career: as long as you have the proper support system in your private life, you can integrate it in your professional one later on. There are many available resources that you can access and use in order to lead a full and active life while coping with a disability.
Try to stay as active as you can and get as much exercise as possible. What options you have can vary depending on what type of disability you are living with: if you are unsure of the exercise routines that you can do, ask your doctor. It’s important to keep yourself in good shape. It will not only contribute to your physical health, but also to your mental wellness. Try as many sports and exercises as you can and keep the ones that you enjoy in your daily workout routine.
Don’t be discouraged or ashamed if you can’t do certain things or if you aren't able to exercise, like other people. An able bodied person will, of course, have an easier time exercising than you will, so comparing your progress to other people’s wouldn’t make sense. Set targets for yourself and strive to reach them instead: be realistic about your abilities and measure your own progress over time. Look into adaptive sports that you can practice. You might be surprised by how many options you have.
Living with a disability is challenging and it’s normal to experience anger, frustration, depression, and sadness every once in a while. Allow yourself to process negative emotions and accept that you will have good days and bad days just like everyone else. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just do the best you can to improve your day to day life when you can. Use every assistance resource you have available and strive to make the best of what you have.
Stay involved in your community and reach out to other people who are disabled for support and company. Discussing the challenges you face on a daily basis with people that are in similar situations will help you cope. Support groups can do more than reassure and comfort you: they can keep you connected to a community and give you the opportunity to make new friends.
Disability Aids that Can Help Restore Independence
Being as self-sufficient as possible is an important goal for many people who are disabled, and restoring your independence can definitely have a positive impact on your quality of life and on your emotional and mental well-being. One in five adults in the United Kingdom is disabled: more than a million disabled adults live independently. Many of them could not live alone if they did not use disability aids.
If you want to restore your independence by accessing disability aids you can do so and still be entitled to support from social services. Start by considering what you will need when living alone and whether your home and your facilities will fit your needs. A local representative from the social services department will also conduct a care and health assessment in order to establish what your requirements are.
You can access this online tool to compile a list of the things you will need when starting to live independently. Do not hesitate to utilize the resources that are available to you if you want to be more self-sufficient. Living in your own home is a great precursory step to searching for a job, as it will give you the confidence you need and encourage you to become even more self-reliant.
Disability Grants and Support Networks
You are entitled to financial help if you are disabled, regardless of whether you are employed or not. There are several types of disability grants that you can apply for depending on your needs and eligibility. How much financial support you receive from the government will depend on an evaluation of your overall situation: your general health, living arrangements, and the level of assistance you require.
Get informed before making a disability claim and learn more about what you can do in order to properly prepare and win your State Disability Insurance or Social Security Disability Insurance case. You can find out more about the requirements and apply for an evaluation here.
Aside from the government assistance that you are entitled to, there are support networks and organizations that can provide you with additional help. Listed below are some of the alternative disability grants and support programs that are available across the U.K.
- There are many local and regional disability grants that you might be eligible for. You can visit this page to look up additional support options that are available in your area.
- Disability support networks and organisations that operate locally, regionally, or across the country can help you with a wide range of issues. You can find a comprehensive list of important contacts and information detailing what they can provide here.
- If you are looking for specialized support groups and counselling services, there is a categorized list of many available options in the United Kingdom on this page.
- Scope is a disability support organization that can help you contact local Disabled People’s Organizations (DPO’s) that can provide you with advice and assistance.
- If you are a disabled parent you can visit http://disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk/ to get specialized support, use the organization’s advocacy services, or request their Information Handbooks. The website offers specific information to help people who are disabled that are planning to become parents or that are already parents with resolving their day to day struggles.
Managing a Professional Life with a Disability
It can be difficult to juggle your personal life and your career as is. It can be even more difficult when you have a disability as the challenges you face in your everyday life extend to your professional one as well. However, there are certain ways to prepare for the obstacles ahead so that you are well equipped to overcome them when they come along.
Make a Checklist
If you are already living independently, you know what your specific requirements are at home. Regardless of your living arrangements, you are already aware of the challenges that you face in your everyday life, from doing household work to travelling, cooking, and shopping. Think about how these requirements translate into your professional life and make a list of things you will have to plan for and adapt to. Your employer is obligated to make the necessary adjustments for you in the workplace, but there are a few things that you will need to manage yourself.
Know What The Law Says
Arm yourself with patience and don’t be disappointed when you get rejected: that is something that every job seeker experiences. Keep your calm when dealing with other people and educate them on how to interact with disabled individuals. They may be nervous and unsure of what to do or say when they meet you.
However, don’t let anyone mistreat you or discriminate against you because of your impairment. Do some research prior to applying for jobs in your desired career field and find out what your rights are. Learn about the Equality Act 2010 and how it can protect you. Keep in mind some of the most important provisions contained in this act and learn more about how they can affect your career:
- Your employer is required to make “reasonable adjustments” in the workplace so that disabled employees are not at a disadvantage. Government programs often support businesses financially when they make the required changes to accommodate disabled employees.
- It is illegal for employers to discriminate against disabled individuals in application forms, interviews, aptitude tests, promotion, or training opportunities, salary, and work-related benefits. These benefits include access to refreshment facilities and recreation, incentives, and bonuses.
- It is also illegal to offer different terms of employment and salary schemes to disabled applicants, it is also discriminatory as they should receive the same offer as any other employee.
- You can take legal action if you are discriminated against. Don’t be afraid to speak out about the situation if you are being treated unfairly. Report the problem to your manager or human resources department at first. If action is not taken to stop the discriminatory practices that you have reported, you can take legal action against your employer. However, asking for professional advice from your local support network first is the best course of action. You have a few methods available to resolve the situation: you can get in touch with ACAS (Advisory Arbitration and Conciliation Service) or file a complaint with the Employment Tribunal.
Tips to Improve Your Chances to Jobs for People with Disabilities
After understanding your rights and the changes you will need to make in order to accommodate your new career, you can start working on creating it. Finding a job as a disabled person can be a bit more difficult, but there are a few things that you can do to optimize your chances of finding employment. If you are still unsure about what kind of work you would prefer doing and what the options are for getting started, you can try talking to a career advisor: this way you can make a clear strategy to build your career on.
How to Find a Job as a Disabled Person
Depending on the career you have chosen, finding a job can become easier if you maximise your resources and make the search easier. There are specialized support networks, non-profit organizations, and alternative work programs that can help you start building your career more easily. Consider asking for help from these sources and getting informed about all of your job search options to find what will work best in your situation.
Training and Education
Planning your career path will be focused on your education: what you have studied and the qualifications you have will be essential in determining what jobs are available to you. In the U.K., schools are required to provide career guidance for students aged 13 to 18, and local government organizations must provide career advice for anyone under the age of 25.
You can also ask for advice or set up a consultation with the National Careers Service Centre in your area. Skills Development Scotland and Careers Wales can also offer career advice if you require it.
If you are a college or university graduate, the career service belonging to your university or college can still help you with finding the right career path. For additional help, you can visit the Prospects website and use their email career advice service within the first five years after you have graduated. The email consultation service Prospects provides is free.
The Skills funding agency can provide training for adults in England in order to help them excel at their jobs, advance their careers, and apply for new positions. It also provides career advice and guidance for those wishing to join the work force.
You can improve your chances of finding a job by gaining additional qualifications. Accredited courses and certificates can help you build your portfolio and make your resume more appealing. You can also look into Personal Development Programmes and courses that can aid you in building up your confidence, team-working abilities, and communication skills. Leadership programmes for people who are disabled are available across the U.K. and they offer coaching for developing many new skills such as leadership tactics and styles, presentation techniques, and communication methods.
Job Search Tips and Tricks, Disability Job Support Network
Once you’ve narrowed down the search and equipped yourself with the necessary training, tools, and information, you can take advantage of a few tips to improve your results. Using support networks and organizations that facilitate job search and access for people who are disabled can make a significant difference in your job seeking experience. Don’t hesitate to access all of the resources you have available and give yourself the best chance at finding the right job.
Job Vacancies and Employers
Now that you have decided the career path you want to pursue, you have to start looking for job vacancies. Online job advert websites, newspaper adverts, job fairs, and recruitment agencies are all great sources for finding jobs to apply to. If you know about a particular position you would like to apply for, you can also contact the employer directly. There are a few resources you can use to make your job search easier and more productive:
- Look for employers that are disability-friendly: although many large companies are aware of the obligations they have under the Equality Act of 2010, finding employers that have a positive attitude towards employing people with disabilities can make job seeking easier. The Disability Symbol is awarded to organizations that have made commitments towards hiring people who are disabled. Jobcentre Plus, which gives the disability symbol to companies, publishes a leaflet that details the commitments which employers need to take in order to display the symbol. Look for job adverts and job application forms that contain the disability symbol: the words “positive about disabled people” and two ticks. Visit the Business Disability Forum to find corporations that are disability-friendly, and ask for a list of such employers in your area.
- Go to Work Choice in order to get government funded training, interview coaching, career advice, and useful contacts and information to help you find a job and start a successful career. Depending on your needs, Work Choice can help you develop your skills, assemble your resume, find a job, and accommodate to the transportation and living requirements that you will have.
- Know your employer before applying for a job. This will not only help you give targeted answers in your interview, it will also give you an idea about how disability-friendly a company is. You can look at a corporation’s equal opportunities policies, general culture, and annual reports.
Interviews and Applications
There are a few things that can make applying for a job easier for people who are disabled. When you require further information regarding a position you can ask for it in an alternative format. The Equality Act 2010 states that this material must be provided in alternative formats such as Braille, in larger print, or in an electronic format.
You should also know that job applications can be submitted in alternative formats as well. As the Equality Act states that reasonable adjustments must be made to provide people who are disabled with equal opportunities, you can ask your employer to make the special arrangements you need in advance when going in for an interview. If you are unable to attend an interview because of disability related issues, your employer is required to reschedule it for a later time
Job Support Networks
There are several job support networks that can help you prepare for interviews, arrange transportation, locate job offers, and improve your skills. Depending on what you need help with, there are several organizations that you can look into.
- Access to Work is a government funded work scheme run by Jobcentre Plus: it can help cover the financial costs of special aids and equipment, travelling requirements, fees, and changes employers must make to accommodate disabled employees. It also provides interview communication support, and, when needed, support workers to help people with disabilities find work.
- United Response is an organization that helps people who are disabled locate suitable jobs and develop skills and qualifications. Finding a paid or voluntary job, creating a CV using common or alternative formats, interview preparation and on-the-job support are the main focuses of the organization.
- Jobcentre Plus is the go-to government organization for job seekers in the U.K., but it can also help people who are disabled looking for work to access specialized resources to aid them in their job search. Start your enquiry at your local Jobcentre Plus office and work with the information they provide there.
- The Disabled Entrepreneurs Network is a web page ran by The Association of Disabled Professionals that offers help to disabled self-employed individuals to set up their business and find new business opportunities in their communities.
- The New Enterprise Allowance is another great resource for unemployed people looking to start their own business, so enquire at your local Jobcentre Plus to see if you can access the scheme. If you can, it will provide you with a weekly allowance to help you set up your own business.
- Disability now is an organization that supports people with disabilities that are looking for work: they provide training courses, useful information, a newspaper covering disability issues, and job opportunities.
Increasing Your Mobility and Becoming as Independent as Possible
There are many health benefits to working for people who are disabled: having a job encourages a more active lifestyle, provides mental and physical stimulation, and increases confidence and self-esteem. Becoming as independent as possible and increasing your mobility are important aspects of starting work as many jobs will encourage you to strive for these things.
The government provides several support schemes for people who are disabled wishing to become more independent, solicit the help of carers, or arrange for transportation to and from work. Your employer is required to make arrangements for you so that you can access all of the work-related benefits other employees do. However, programmes like Access to Work can help with covering costs and ensuring travel options for you if you cannot use common transportation methods to get to work. You can ask the social worker evaluating your case what options are available for increasing both your mobility and independence.
Specialized devices and professional carers can help you manage your household chores, work schedule, bills and taxes, transportation options, and other challenges so that you can be independent.
Extra Tips and Resources on Jobs for People with Disabilities
There are many great avenues you can use to find the right career for you and a conventional office job is only one of them. Do not limit yourself to conventional employment and keep an open mind: you will have more job opportunities this way. Consider alternative working experiences and resources when looking for employment and don’t be afraid of accessing all of the possible resources to help you improve your skills.
A great way to learn build up your CV, gain some experience, and develop your skills is to apply for an internship. Whether it’s paid or unpaid, an internship is a work experience program that can help you learn useful notions and skills for the career you want to pursue.
Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience, mentoring and career guidance. As it is unpaid work, make sure that you do not sign up for long-term programs that do not suit your needs and that you learn relevant skills for your career.
Shadowing a skilled professional is a great way to learn on the job and there are many mentorship opportunities that you can look into. Search online for mentorship programs that can accommodate your needs and build up your experience and your skill set this way
You need to know yourself and your limits, strengths, and skills when you start looking for work. Spending every waking hour at your job and sleeping the weekends away to recover your strength isn’t the best way to build a career: working shouldn’t overwhelm you.
There are many flexible work opportunities that will allow you to pace yourself and make the most out of your job: part time jobs, job sharing, compressed hours (working longer but on fewer days), flexi-time(choosing your working period), annualized hours (work hours calculated yearly), or working from home can all be great solutions.
You can ask your employer for flexible working hours if you've been working for them for longer than 26 weeks. Setting up a schedule that suits your needs is vital to maintaining your health and enjoying your job, so make it a priority and discuss it with your employers.
Many people choose self-employment over a conventional workplace as it is easier for them to plan their own schedule and workload according to their requirements. There are many support networks that can help you set up your own business or work as a freelancer and thrive this way. Read about what benefits and programs you are eligible for when you are self-employed and start your own business.
Although managing your disability while employed comes with some challenges, it is possible to build a successful career regardless of your impairment. You just have to use the right resources, arm yourself with confidence and knowledge, and start looking for the right job for you.